Day 2 Jogyesa Temple
I decided to start off the day with Jogyesa Temple. I didn't expect it to be a particularly interesting place. I was thinking that it would be a 'come, snap, go' place, but i was wrong.
En-route to the temple, i passed by a rather empty Insadong street.
After making a left turn, i saw Jogyesa across the road.
Ahh, the main entrance. The temple was sheltered by by perhaps, a few thousand lanterns. I overheard a tour guide explaining that people bought these lanterns during some celebration and wrote their wishes on it.
"Jogyesa Temple is the central temple and symbol of Korean Buddhism. It has been designated as the #1 temple of the 1st District of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism...
It is a place to learn and practise Buddhism as well as a centre for education, culture, and social services."
After being treated to such a spectacular sight, i proceeded to the Main Dharma Hall, Daewungjeon, to pay my respects(and also to snap a few shots). I took off my shoes and knelt down at a spot nearest to the entrance.
People were either sitting cross-legged and reading their sutras or carrying out their 108 bows.
Everyone was completely absorbed in their praying.
It is apparent that this is their way of life and it is something that is kept close to their heart.
I gazed around in awe; such a state of devotion, faith and earnestness is something i can never achieve.
|A elderly devotee, who needed help walking and getting up the steps, bowed with much effort and sincerity.|
|The Octagonal Ten-Storied Buddha Relic Stupa houses "an actual relic of the Buddha brought in 1913 by the Sri Lankan Monk Anagarika Dharmapala."|
|An old nun counts her prayer beads as she lights the candles.|
|A display in the souvenir shop|
As i was about to leave the temple, the sound of people chanting the sutra held me back. I scurried back to the main hall and i was treated with this sight. I took off my shoes and entered the hall again. The atmosphere was intense; the monks and the devotees(mostly women) were reciting the sutra aloud in unison.
It was a different kind of joy that i felt. As the chanting ricocheted through my mind, i was enchanted.
I can't say that i attained the ideal peaceful mind after listening to it for a good ten minutes, but it was soothing and definitely a feast for my spirit.
Shops selling prayer equipment dotted the street adjacent to Jogyesa Temple.
I returned at 1:45pm because i was told that there would be lady coming in the afternoon to guide me through some activities.
I chose to make a prayer necklace.
As i happily started threadeding the beads, the lady stopped me politely.
Here's the catch, i had to do 108 prostrations...
every time i thread a bead.
I didn't back out. It was a daunting task, but i decided to have a taste of a Buddhist's life.
In between bowing and threading the beads, she explained to me about the way of Buddhism.
At the end of the 108 prostrations, my feet, muscles and back were aching, but it was worth it.
The lady also taught me about meditation. We meditated together for a few minutes and i tried to concentrate solely on my breathing. Unfortunately, i almost fell asleep.
Nonetheless, i thoroughly enjoyed the 1.5 hour culture exchange.